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Remembering Morelli's Mom-and-Pop Shop in Scott

A loving look back at a beloved mom-and-pop shop.

I was reminiscing with a friend about Morelli’s. Back in the day, before Walmart, this land was populated by mom-and-pop shops.

I loved the mom and pops. I remember going to one in Beechview, up the road from my nana’s house. It’s where I bought some of my first comic books and baseball cards, Adam Warlock and Manny Sanguillen, respectively. I even had a collection of Battlestar Galactica cards, back when Starbuck was a boy.

Lillian and Lou Morelli were the affable owners of Morelli’s, literally a mom and a pop of the shop. I guess they didn’t call them mom-and-pops for nothing. Morelli’s was at the junction between Lindsay and Victory, a stone’s throw from the Scott Township Municipal Building and police station (kids, don’t throw stones at the police, I'm just saying).  

I think every child on Lindsay Road has fond memories of riding their bikes to Morelli’s and grabbing some penny candy (it was never a penny, but that’s what we called it for some reason).

My friend’s Sheri and Gail were partial to French onion dip more than candy, but we all went down there for something. My mom always went for the extra-lean ground beef or the Parma sausage. Morelli’s saved us from driving to the strip on more than one occasion.

Lou was a fine, old, Italian gentleman; his wife, Lillian, was more interesting. It seemed to me that she was always dressed in a white and blue floral housecoat, like one of the Flintstone’s or Jetson’s she always wore the same clothes. At least, it seemed that way to me.  

Lillian had an odd affectation. She used to sneak small bites of the chipped ham. It wasn’t that she used to sneak the ham shavings, it was the way she did it. She would stare at the ceiling, unhinge her jaw like some voracious snake, and power it down her gullet, wiggling her neck as if she were some great unimaginable beast swallowing a live animal.

It was disturbing to watch, and, like a car crash, we were unable to look away. Oh you’d pretend to be looking at a can of LaSueur peas (ridiculously overpriced French peas, especially at Morelli’s), but you were secretly getting some visceral thrill from watching Lil gobble the finely sliced ham bits, like the Kraken about to swallow Andromeda in “Clash of the Titans (the original, not the stupid remake).”

The chipped ham never stood a chance.

While reminiscing, I realized I may not have gotten all of the details right. I’m sure Lillian Morelli had more than one outfit. Also, for the sake of full disclosure, “Clash of the Titan’s” came out in 1981, long after I had seen Lillian devour her prey.

But this story has a sad ending. Mr. Morelli passed ten years ago 10 years ago today (July 6, 2001). Though, Mrs. Morelli is still with us. Hide your chipped ham.

Laura Klehm Sago July 26, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I really have to wonder why anyone would comment about this aricle after so much time has passed. Anyone with common sense could tell there was not any disrespect intended when this article was written. Had Mrs. Morelli read it before she passed, she probably would have seen the humor in it herself. I know Lou would have. I personally see all of these ridiculous comments that have been posted as total disrespect and ignorance toward Mike, and anyone that might have enough decency to stand up and do and say the right thing. It really bothers me to see all of these threats and bullying from grown adults (I use this term loosely). I have four children and they know better than to make some of the comments that were made in these posts. I am going out on a limb here, but I would say that as a journalist Mike checks his facts prior to sending an article for print. The rest of you might want to try doing the same.
Michael Buzzelli July 26, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Wow. I love me some Klehms! Thanks for jumping in to the deep end with me and your bro, Laura! :)
rocky ianno March 17, 2013 at 10:27 PM
I actually remember this quaint little market growing up when I visited my cousin who lived by ST.Clair hospital, I was from Mt. Oliver. It was a highlight when visiting in the summer and we would go there every other day and then head over to the park. Now onto something that needs my attention. I am disturbed by this Frasinelli character (or purely the lack of any) and his pointed words and lack or refinement coupled with quite the uncouth mannerism. The article brought nostalgia and fond memories to some and even though a few statements may appear a bit abrasive or rude, it was just his thoughts on what he remembers, there is no reason for thug-like comments or demeaning and condescending attitude.
rocky ianno March 17, 2013 at 10:27 PM
It appears that this one Frasinelli is a cyber bully and most assuredly thinks he's a tough guy. Well I'm not fond of bully's or disdainful and supercilious attitudes. Frasinelli you pick on the writer and those who commented on the article and then you go further and attack peoples geographical location all while making what certainly could be thought of as threats. You do need to watch your blood pressure my boy and watch your tongue as well! Who do you think you are anyways? You're no better than anyone else regardless if you come from the Terrace. I grew up in Mt. Oliver at the Fort, rough and tumble as they come. But I only pick on people that need it, arrogant wanna-be tough guys like YOU!. So read the articles and enjoy share and laugh and make your points, but do it with out dissin others and trying to be something you're not "tough guy"...! Now let me ask YOU this Jabroni'... Do you smell.. what The Rock is cookin...!
destiny walker March 22, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Hmmm can we say that Ronald needs some Anger Management classes ROFL LOL! ;)

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